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Economic Development

Clovis is constantly growing and changing, the way any vibrant community with a thriving economy does.

While there have been a number of additions to the local retail economy over the last year, the most notable development has been the addition of an enclave of civic properties on a large piece of previously undeveloped land on the northern edge of Old Town Clovis, according to Shawn Miller, business development manager for the City of Clovis. It has been named “Landmark Commons” because the new facilities will be located in the approximate location where Clovis was founded 130 years ago.

A new 30,000-square-foot public library, owned by the Fresno County Library System, and a new 25,000-square-foot senior center, owned by the City of Clovis, are currently under construction there. So is a new transit hub for transit administration offices and dispatchers.

The current 40-year-old library, which is the second-busiest library in the county, has been purchased by the City of Clovis. It will be transformed into city offices. The existing senior center is proposed for use by its neighbor, the San Joaquin College of Law, for use as a law library.

Landmark Commons will be located adjacent to the Heritage Center museum and the Old Town bicycle and walking trail. Plans also call for a public plaza to be built in the area, Miller said.
Also nearby is the Clovis Veterans Memorial District where more innovation is currently underway. An old vacant industrial building is being transformed into the 5,000-square-foot Clovis Culinary Center, a certified commercial kitchen that those who pay to be members can use to prepare food for their catering businesses or for sale. It is designed to be a business incubator for restaurants and other small food-related businesses, so classes on how to write a business plan and how to scale a recipe to feed a larger group and so forth are planned.

Fresno Ideaworks, a maker’s space venture, will be going into another building in the same general area – a 10,000-square-foot warehouse, built in the 1950s. Similar to the Culinary Center or a gym, people will be able to buy a membership and then go in and take classes or simply use the equipment offered there like woodworking tools, welding equipment, CNC machines, a bike shop and even equipment for spinning yarn.

“Both of these facilities will be very cool and they will be located in the Veterans Memorial District and close to Landmark Commons and Old Town Clovis, so everything can feed off of one another,” Miller said. “The commercial kitchen is due to open in late 2016 and the Ideaworks facility will open in the winter or early spring.”
Community leaders in Clovis make a concerted effort to attract and welcome new businesses and to support the success of current businesses so that the community may continue to offer a breadth of options for employment, commerce and an active lifestyle.
Retail properties throughout Clovis, for instance, are currently being updated, upgraded and expanded.

Sierra Vista Mall, which was hard-hit by the recession, is now under new ownership and is managed by The Woodmont Company, a powerful nationwide retail property management organization. It held a grand re-opening in early 2016 and now features Which Wich Sandwich Shop, Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, Colton’s Social House bar & grill and Fri Poutinerie, a fast casual restaurant featuring 22 types of Montreal-style smoked meat sandwiches and Canada’s version of nachos featuring fries, sauces and cheese curds. The 16-screen Sierra Vista theater is also being renovated. It is adding luxury seating and facilities to serve alcohol.

The Trading Post, another older strip mall located at Herndon and Clovis Avenues, has been revitalized as well. Gryphon Capital, its new owner, rebuilt the parking lot, installed new landscaping and recruited new tenants like Ross Stores, Tuesday Morning and Sprouts Farmers Market.

Centennial Plaza is creating a lot of excitement, too. Located in Old Town Clovis, south of Fifth Street, this former Department of Motor Vehicles site is being redeveloped with a public plaza, flanked by two large pads that have been sold to the Shamshoian family’s Realty Concepts and to Roger Peterson Investments. Plans call for mixed use, three-story properties featuring retail or restaurants on the first floor and offices above, Miller said.

Clovis also boasts a number of large manufacturers, a major food processor, a healthy professional community, a cluster of educational institutions and a large health care industry.
Among Clovis’ major employers are Clovis Community Hospital; Wawona Frozen Foods; Pelco, the world’s largest security camera and closed circuit television systems manufacturer; Anlin Windows, the largest replacement window firm west of the Mississippi River; Niacc-Avitech, a manufacturer of components for the aerospace industry; and German-based KW Automotive, a manufacturer of high-end suspension systems for professional race cars and hot rods.

The Clovis Industrial Park is currently undergoing an expansion, as is the Dry Creek Industrial Park. The Clovis Industrial Park is in the process of adding several large speculative buildings. At Dry Creek, the city is installing streets and utilities on 30 acres of adjacent land as it also seeks to provide more space for light industrial companies to locate. Several are currently interested, according to Miller. The Research and Technology Business Park with its excellent access to a freeway off-ramp is also expanding and adding an adjacent retail area with restaurants, day care facilities and gas station to serve those employed in the area. In addition, California Health Sciences University has purchased land in the R & T Park for expansion of their school.

An increasing number of health care-related service providers are also finding their way to Clovis as the local health care industry booms, and Clovis Community Hospital invests in major expansions like a second new bed tower and a 60,000-square-foot cancer center, according to Miller.

“Clovis has become a regional magnet for health care and we have many providers of services related to Clovis Community Hospital’s specialties of bariatric surgery and women’s health. We didn’t necessarily expect it, but this has been a boon to our local economy because for many of these specialties, people stay in the hospital for several days and their families come, too, spending time in our local hotels, pumping gas at our gas stations and eating in our restaurants, spending an average of $95 per person, per day,” he said.

“Our hotel occupancy rate is a approximately 80 percent most of the time in our eight long-established hotels, so we currently have two more hotels under construction – a La Quinta on Clovis Avenue, south of Barstow, and a Marriott Towne Suites on Shaw Avenue at Helm – which will add 200 rooms to our inventory. A third new hotel is in the planning stages. We need all the hotel rooms we can get,” Miller said.

The work of the staff at the City of Clovis is supplemented by the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), a non-profit which has been assisting communities throughout the county attract and retain business for 36 years.

“Companies will come to us and tell us what they have in mind for a location and we try to help them find the ideal place. For instance, if they are involved in health care, we suggest Clovis because it is the center of health care in the county. We also target Clovis for light industrial and technology firms. Tech companies don’t have to locate in Silicon Valley. We have a huge need for them in the Central Valley, too,” said Lee Ann Eager, president and CEO of the EDC.

“Clovis also stands out because of its wonderful quality of life, which in the post-recession world has become very important to companies,” she added.

“We act as a go-between with businesses and the local, state and federal officials, looking for incentives, programs, workforce dollars and sites for new businesses. And when we help to place a company, we continue to follow them for the first 18 months, checking to see if they need further assistance,” she said.

For those who live in Clovis, it’s no secret that Clovis boasts a higher-than-average quality of life. Clovis is the safest city in the region and has one of the best school districts in the nation. It’s also clear that the City of Clovis is striving to be the best place to work, shop, dine and do business.

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